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Reading: Enter the 2-Disc Platinum Edition: Bruce Lee and Post-DVD Textuality

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Enter the 2-Disc Platinum Edition: Bruce Lee and Post-DVD Textuality

Author:

Leon Hunt

Brunel University, GB
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Abstract

Bruce Lee’s films have moved across not only cultural boundaries, but also different media platforms – film, television, video and an assortment of digital media. DVD and Bluray don’t just facilitate ownership of optimum and definitive versions of texts, but also redefine textuality through their secondary materials. As Barbara Klinger argues, ‘DVD acts as an ambassador of context, entering the home complete with its own armada of discourses meant to influence reception, including behind-the-scenes industry information and commentary tracks’. In the case of a culturally contested figure like Bruce Lee, such an armada of discourses might be particularly worthy of study. Moreover, DVD introduces new criteria for determining what makes a ‘perfect DVD movie’, by making use of the audio-visual ‘perfection’ facilitated by the medium or presenting particularly impressive arrays of extras. Bruce Lee is perhaps not an obvious candidate for post-DVD study, compared to such formats as the TV boxed set or multi-disc extended cut of a Hollywood blockbuster. These comparatively low budget films don’t lend themselves to the audio-visual perfection expected of a high-end blockbuster movie. Moreover, most DVD versions of his films (including releases in HK and the US) have been light on extra features. Nevertheless certain releases of Lee films do raise interesting questions in the light of post-DVD debates. How are Lee’s defiantly pre-digital movies positioned and remediated on DVD? This paper will consider some of the different versions available, and the role of intratextual materials. It examines competing discourses used to frame Lee’s legacy and cultural significance, particularly between his Hong Kong films and the Hollywood co-production Enter the Dragon. The essay focuses in particular on two Bruce Lee films characterised by degrees of incompleteness – The Big Boss (cut after its original Mandarin release) and the incomplete Game of Death. Considering Game of Death in the context of the ‘perfect DVD movie’ debate, this essay revisits the question of whether a ‘bad’ film (at least in its theatrical version) can become a ‘great’ DVD.

How to Cite: Hunt, L., (2014). Enter the 2-Disc Platinum Edition: Bruce Lee and Post-DVD Textuality. JOMEC Journal. (5), p.None. DOI: http://doi.org/10.18573/j.2014.10270
Published on 01 Jun 2014.
Peer Reviewed

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